When Assad falls, Kurds in Syria say they’ll take back lands given to Arabs

When Assad falls, Kurds in Syria say they’ll take back lands given to Arabs

David Enders reporting for McClatchy:

ALI FARO, Syria — Sattam Sheikhmous still farms wheat on what’s left of his grandfather’s land, shrunk from more than 32,000 acres to less than 5,000 by the Syrian government in 1966.

“They said it was a socialist policy, but we believe it was political,” said Sheikhmous, now in his 60s, referring to the government confiscation of land that began when Syria joined with Egypt, then ruled by Gamal Abdel Nasser, to form the United Arab Republic in 1958.

The land confiscation took place across the country. But in the predominantly Kurdish province of Hasaka, in Syria’s northeast corner, the resettlement of Arabs from another part of the country in the 1970s created ethnic tensions that could manifest themselves violently when the Syrian government fully relinquishes control of the area, now seen by many as only a matter of time.

“We have to ask them to give us our land back. If they don’t, we have to do whatever we need to do,” said Sheikhmous. “It’s not just our land, it’s Kurdish land. If they don’t leave peacefully, we will use weapons.”

What fantastic legacies these regimes are leaving behind. Of course, in this case, it may be more a question of recovering the property of large landowners that was redistributed by progressive policies than doing anything for the sake of "Kurds" — unless he intends to distribute that land to all and any Kurds.